Kevin Hart has stepped down as Oscars host just two days after the Academy announced he would take on the gig over the comedian's old tweets with gay jokes.
Although he initially refused to apologise, stressing that he had on multiple occasions addressed the past messages, he eventually gave in – but only after withdrawing from hosting the Academy Awards:
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) 7 декабря 2018 г.
I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Earlier on the same day, Hart had posted an Instagram video from his tour of Australia to say that the Academy gave him an ultimatum: apologise for those old tweets to keep his job as host.
"The reason why I passed is because I've addressed this several times. I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on and I'm in a completely different space in my life".
The tweets from between 2009 and 2011 that included derogatory language referring to gay people re-surfaced on the social media network shortly after the Academy chose Hart as Oscars host.
A video from a 2010 standup show in which the comedian joked about his fear that his three-year-old son would be gay was also unearthed.
Some of his old tweets have since been removed.
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted "fag," "homo," or "gay." It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) 5 декабря 2018 г.
The controversy has set off a massive landslide on social media, with some being seemingly happy with Hart's withdrawal from Oscars hosting…
Kevin Hart: I’m not gonna apologize…— Mars & Blair Show (@marsandblair) 7 декабря 2018 г.
The Academy: pic.twitter.com/KdpAqL37vE
…and pointed to the fact that he was hired and fired within hours:
Kevin Hart was really hired & fired within hours…we’re so powerful ugh our minds! pic.twitter.com/dCefVzBV4P— Trevor Drum (@rovertmurd) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Some were dumbstruck by the fact that someone had spent so much time to dig up Hart's old tweets and stop him from making his dream come true:
This Kevin Hart gist is quite funny to me. Someone actually dug up deleted tweets just to prevent him from achieving his dream. Sometimes, humans can be such vile creatures.— Oscar-Romero (@the_oscaromero) 7 декабря 2018 г.
But…but…he made some flippant joke about 8 years ago on twitter. pic.twitter.com/lm5TnGQM6b— Stephen (@Harvest_This) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Who are these people that have all the time in the world to back check all of someone’s Twitter for any offense or wrong doing. pic.twitter.com/1p9kndwIHV— Mr. Robot (@iDesiRobot) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Others suggested that people had become extremely sensitive, and that the comedian shouldn’t have apologised for doing his job – making jokes:
You have just appeased the lunatics & let them win. It’s a shame you let the mob control your destiny. Sad times for comedy. Everything is off limits now. What a horrible time to be alive— RIÖ (@RioOfficial1989) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Kevin Hart has an early stand up where he jokes about his Son grindin’ on another kid and he says “stop, thas gay!”.. and in 2010.. EVERYBODY LAUGHED. EVERYBODY. But in 2018.. we make it a hate comment.. whether you think Kev funny or not.. He does Love EVERYBODY. 🤷🏾♂️ my opinion— Terrell Mallory (@_Twinndiesel) 7 декабря 2018 г.
But…but…he decided to apologize. OH NO! pic.twitter.com/G4HkyaIpXP— Void (@voidlogic) 7 декабря 2018 г.
I hate this generation and how sensitive it is— The Artist (@Ace351Marin) 7 декабря 2018 г.
The Academy hasn't commented on Hart's decision so far, and has yet to announce who will replace the comedian as the Oscars host.